Life Enigma

Price: $35.95
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Manufacturer Description

Like other jazz fusion heroes from the 1970s who haven't succumbed to smooth jazz, Jean-Luc Ponty incorporates elements from the acid jazz and drum 'n' bass scenes in Europe. With his first studio album in seven years, there's evidence that the French violinist may have been hitting the Paris nightclubs during his time away from the studio, specifically on the tracks "Signals from the Planet Earth" and "The Infinite Human Caravan." Only the opening track harks back to Ponty's self-absorbed period in the '80s, when his computer work overshadowed his violin playing. On the other two tracks, we get just his instrument and machines. Ponty seems to have matured into a programmer who won't let the computer take away from his status as a world-class violinist--good news, certainly, for his fans, who'd much rather hear his sterling electric violin. While Ponty works here mostly with a bassist and two percussionists, pianist William Lecomte makes his presence known with solid solos on two selections, and fretless bassist Guy Nsangue Akwa shines throughout. Life Enigma is easily Ponty's best album since the string of records he made for Atlantic ended 20 years ago. --Mark Ruffin

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